After having developed 6 entrepreneurial support programs in 6 cities, we are launching a new incubator in Strasbourg with our partner The Human Safety Net, Generali Foundation. Unique in Europe, this incubator is the starting point of a collaboration between France and Germany to promote innovation through migration. It will support between 20 and 30 entrepreneurs per year to enable them to reveal themselves and give birth to impactful projects. Below is an interview with Liliana Amundaraín, coordinator of the THSN by SINGA program in Strasbourg. 

Who are you?

Originally from Venezuela, I am an architect and art critic by training. I have coordinated several international architectural projects and taught at the Simón Bolívar University (my alma mater). More recently, I worked at the FRAC Alsace and then at the startup Epopia before co-founding Cultural 4KAST (cultural forecast), an intercultural event agency in the border region between France and Germany.

I love visual arts, documentary photography, performance art, design, and… swimming!

What are you doing at SINGA?

I joined SINGA 2 months ago. My role is to coordinate the new cross-border incubator in Strasbourg. I am in charge of developing partnerships with the actors of asylum, entrepreneurship, and social innovation ecosystems in the region and designing support pathways for the entrepreneurs.  

Why did you decide to join SINGA?

As a so-called “migrant” myself, I know and have experienced the difficulties of changing continents and professional environments.

I myself have been accompanied by the programs offered by SINGA Stuttgart, starting from scratch. This is how I was able to create and develop my project Cultural 4KAST, an entrepreneurial project with an intercultural team based between Karlsruhe and Strasbourg.

I decided to coordinate this program because I wanted to put my skills at the service of meeting and creating societies that are rich in diversity. I believe in the potential that exiled people can bring, and I also want to learn within this international network that is SINGA.

What is the THSN by SINGA Strasbourg incubator?

In concrete terms, it is two support programs: a pre-incubation program and an incubation program open to newcomers (people with refugee and migrant backgrounds) and local people with a project related to migration, in the Strasbourg region. 

The result of a collaboration between SINGA and The Human Safety Net Foundation (which is the main funder via the THSN scaling grant), THSN by SINGA Strasbourg is the first bi-national incubator in the European Union. Its main objective is to promote entrepreneurship and social innovation around migration, on the scale of the Upper Rhine region (more precisely between the SINGAs in Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, and Stuttgart). We also hope to create a strong community of entrepreneurs and partners through the networking events we will organize.

What is the symbolism behind this cross-border project?

The ambition of the THSN by SINGA Strasbourg incubator is to reveal the potential of newcomers in their host societies, in this case, France and Germany. We want to show that cultural diversity is a driver of creation and innovation and that newcomers can bring a fresh perspective on the exchanges between these two countries!

This project is also part of our desire to raise awareness among our partners about the challenges of public policies on employment and labor laws in favor of newcomers, at the European Union level. 

What are the next challenges for THSN by SINGA Strasbourg?

Applications to join the pre-incubation and incubation programs are now open to all (newcomers and locals). All projects related to migration are welcome. I invite all interested entrepreneurs to visit our page for more information and to apply directly via our online application form.

From autumn 2022, we will set up the incubator in the new Kaleidoscope coworking space in the Port du Rhin district. We will then be ready to welcome entrepreneurs. I am already looking forward to working with them on the development of their ideas!